BE In Review


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Message from the Head of School

Welcome to BE in Review, the annual compilation of research and education highlights from UNSW School of Built Environment, covering Architecture, Construction, Planning, Design and more.

This past year our institution has been recognised at the highest level, with UNSW ranked =19th in the world in the 2023 QS Rankings, and the School of Built Environment climbing into the top 40. UNSW was also named as the top research institution in Australia, in the field of Architecture, for the third year in a row by The Australian. 

  • In 2023 our researchers received $11.9m in grant funding to develop new knowledge and tackle some of the most significant challenges in our fields, from 3D printing housing to increase provision in regional communities, to developing a national heat vulnerability observatory to improve urban health and well-being. Our academics curated multiple exhibitions at the Venice Biennale, made the front cover of esteemed journals such as L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui and Casabella and delivered invited lectures at Yale, MIT and Berkeley.

    2023 was also a wonderful year for our students, who won prestigious Architecture Awards, the Australian Design Graduate of the year and NSW Young Planner of the Year. An annual highlight for me is attending our end of year student exhibitions, where I am in awe of their work and their ambition to create more sustainable, equitable and resilient designs for our future cities.  

    While we have many different disciplines at UNSW Built Environment, there are commonalities that define our collective values as a School. We seek a more equitable built environment for the health, safety and comfort of all. We recognise that the built environment is one of the biggest contributors to the climate crisis, and we’re committed to developing the research, technologies and designs to tackle this, reducing carbon emissions, and creating biodiverse and sustainable buildings and places. For this reason we’re delighted to be recognised as 2nd in the world for SDG13: Climate Action (in the 2023 THE Impact Rankings).

    We’re also committed to our research having societal impact, that’s why we hosted a Housing Roundtable with the NSW Premier the Hon. Chris Minns MP, Minister for Housing the Hon. Rose Jackson MP, and Minister for Planning and Public Spaces the Hon. Paul Scully MP in August 2023, to set the evidence base to tackle the housing crisis. We also firmly believe that education should be for all, which is why I’m delighted to see the establishment of the Margaret Elias Equity Scholarship, which will provide greater access to our degrees and impactful careers in the built environment.

    All of this, and more, is captured in this edition of BE In Review. I do hope you enjoy the stories, videos and links within.

    I would like to end by thanking our incredible staff at UNSW Built Environment for another remarkable year, and to wish everyone reading this a restful end to 2023, and a great start to 2024.

    Philip Oldfield

    Head of School, UNSW Built Environment


In 2023, UNSW Built Environment and City Futures received $11.9m in grant funding to tackle some of the most significant challenges in our fields, from 3D printing regional housing, to developing a national heat vulnerability observatory

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To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Sydney Opera House, UNSW were joined by Jan and Lin Utzon to discuss the legacy of their father, Jørn Utzon, the building’s visionary architect

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For the third year running, UNSW was named as the top research institution in Architecture by The Australian, in their annual Research Magazine

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In August, UNSW Built Environment hosted a Housing Affordability Roundtable for the NSW Premier, Minister for Housing, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces and researchers from across the state

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A number of our talented students and alumni won prestigious awards in 2023, including Architecture Medals and the NSW Medallion, Design Graduate of the Year and Young Planner of the Year

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UNSW have partnered with Urban Property Group to offer equity scholarships to support women who are the first in their family to attend university

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UNSW Seidler Chairs in Architecture, Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell, Directors of Singaporean practice WOHA, travelled to Sydney to run their annual architecture studio and deliver an Utzon Lecture

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Explore Luminocity 2023 – the annual UNSW Built Environment undergraduate exhibition showcasing our student work in Architecture, Design, Planning, Construction and more

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UNSW's world-leading researchers have created three new short courses sharing the latest evidence-based solutions to problems faced by modern cities

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Top 40
in the world for Architecture and Built Environment

QS World University Rankings, 2023

For research in Architecture

The Australian Annual Research Magazine, 2023

employable students

AFR Top100 Future Leaders Awards, 2022